Vernon hosts Voyageurs

Upwards of 200 paddlers from as far as Hawaii and near as Vernon set out on Okanagan Brigade

Cruising the historic highways of trade and discovery, upwards of 200 paddles are dipping in and out of area lakes this week.

The Okanagan Brigade Society is hosting a Brigade Trails to Wine Trails, taking paddlers on Wood, Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes.

The 16 canoes, seating anywhere from six to 10 paddlers each, first dipped into Wood Lake Monday morning, then travelled up Kalamalka Lake. They set off this morning from Komasket Park on the Westside near Vernon on their journey down Okanagan Lake.

“We have people from as far away as Hawaii, we have a gentleman from Oregon and couple from Toronto,” said Cor Zandbergen, an organizer of the brigade.

“We are really trying to build an interest on voyageur canoeing,” he said, adding that since organizing they brigade they have learned of of more of the large canoes in the area.

Throughout the week they will be celebrating the history of the Okanagan and First Nations people, the days of the Fur Brigade Trail, the early ranching days in the North Okanagan and today’s Winery Trail extending the length of the Okanogan Valley.

The voyage will visit the communities of Vernon, Fintry, Kelowna, West Bank, Peachland, Summerland, Naramata, Pentiction, Kaledon, and Okanagan Falls.

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To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s foundation a series of north canoe brigades will start on July 1 of 2017 and last two weeks. There will be brigades in all regions across Canada. At the conclusion of these regional brigades, there will be a two-week brigade travelling from Toronto to Ottawa.